Thermal therapy for a sprained ankle - Ankle sprains can be very debilitating, especially for athletes, because the pegs are used for many physical activities. A person with an ankle sprain can find relief from sprain symptoms through thermal therapy (heat), but only if applied with the right strategy.
Thermal therapy for a sprained ankle
Research by Chris Thompson and published in the August 2003 "Journal of Family Practice" indicates that heat therapy is less effective in the treatment of sprains that cold when the sprain is severe. The reason is that serious infringements are associated with larger amounts of swelling and inflammation, which heat will worsen. Use heat therapy only with benign sprains.
Because the heat relaxes blood vessels and promotes swelling, wait to use heat therapy on a sprained ankle until the sprain had a chance to heal enough for the swelling to go down. Usually this means that there were at least three days after your injury.
The heat will relax the muscles and tendons of the ankle. This can be very useful when you notice that the ankle is very stiff but not very painful - the aim of the heat therapy with a sprained should be to increase mobility rather than relieve pain. Apply heat therapy before rehabilitation and stretching exercises, or in the morning when the ankle is "cold" and was not used.
The simplest method of heat therapy for ankle sprains is to use a heating pack or a hot pad wrapped around the ankle. They are convenient because they can be used anywhere. However, you may find that the warming of the muscles and surrounding tissues in conjunction with tissue sprain region feels better. In this case, use a hot bath or foot bath. A dip in a hot tub is acceptable, but limit the time in the bath and do not use extreme heat.
If you intend to use any type of hydrotherapy, try alternating heat cold. This makes the blood vessels go through periods of expansion and restriction alternately, so that it delivers blood flow to the injured area, but in a controlled manner. This is important because adequate blood flow promotes healing, but too dilation of blood vessels to swell the fabric. Other heat for four minutes and a cold for no more than 30 minutes.
Avoid extremely hot temperatures when using a heat treatment. If you use alternating hot and cold, also avoid temperatures that are extremely cold. Extreme temperatures can damage the skin because it takes less time to heat or cool the outer fabric that does the internal tissue that has been injured.